21 January 2018
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Thursday, 21 December 2017 12:32

Ministry of agriculture upbeat with progress of FISP

Written by  Memory Kutengule

 

Blantyre, December 21, 2017:  Ministry of Agriculture Irrigation and Water Development has expressed satisfaction on the progress of Farm Input Subsidy Program (FISP) currently underway in many parts of the country.

This year’s programme has seen close to 828,000 farmers accessing the inputs in time.

The ministry’s public relations officer, Osborne Tsoka told Malawi News Agency in an interview on Wednesday that currently, 92 per cent of NPK and 87 per cent of Urea fertilizers have been accessed by the programme beneficiaries.

According to Tsoka, 95 per cent of cereals and 97 per cent of legumes have also been already accessed by the beneficiaries.

He attributed the development to multiple players which assisted farmers to access the inputs without problems as compared to the previous setup.

“The early start of the programme enabled the farmers to access fertiliser and seeds in time. Apart from this, we had multiple players on the ground so the extent that farmers could not queue for inputs,” he said.

He however cited low uptake of sorghum seed and few retail market outlets for fertilizer and seeds as some of the challenges which the programme faced.

“Some of the input retailers were selling along the tarmac roads or in main trading centres, neglecting hard- to- reach and remote areas.

“Again, few market outlets were opened and this forced some farmers to walk long distances to access fertilizer,” he said.

In addressing the challenges, the publicist said the ministry, through District Agriculture Development Officers, is working with the suppliers to assist the remaining farmers in remote and hard to reach areas to access fertilizer and seeds.

“With the current trend, we are optimistic that almost every farmer will access the inputs by December 22,” he said.

Minister of Agriculture, Joseph Mwanamvekha launched the 20l7/20l8 Farm Input Subsidy Programme in October this year.

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